American Poet, Founder and Co-Director of Project V.O.I.C.E.
American Poet, Founder and Co-Director of Project V.O.I.C.E.
I have always liked coming home and sharing what has happened that day with my loved ones. I like comparing notes. I know other people do, too. I think there is a human instinct to tell stories, no matter who you are or where you live.
My self-confidence can be measured out in teaspoons mixed into my poetry, and it still always tastes funny in my mouth.
They'll be days like this my momma said. When you open your hands to catch, and wind up with only blisters and bruises. When you try to step out of the phone booth and try to fly , and the very people you want to save, are the ones standing on your cape. When your boots will fill with rain, and you'll be up to your knees with disappointment and those are the very days you have all the more reason to say Thank you.
I have seen the best of you, and the worst of you, and I choose both.
My world was the size of a crayon box, and it took every color to draw her
This is how I disappear in pieces. This is how I leave while not moving from my seat. This is how I dance away. This is how I'm gone before you wake.
I promise to tidy up before company arrives, wouldn't want my socks and daydreams all over the carpet.
Not all poetry wants to be storytelling. And not all storytelling wants to be poetry. But great storytellers and great poets share something in common: They had something to say, and did.
This life will hit you--hard. In the face! It'll wait for you to get back up, just so it can kick you in the stomach. But getting the wind knocked out of you, is the only way to remind your lungs how much they like the taste of air.
I think there is a human instinct to tell stories, no matter who you are or where you live.
Perusing colorful storylines on the backs of book jackets, I realized that none of them could possibly be as dramatic as my life to date. Then sadly, I also realized I could never find the ending of my story from the safety of an armchair.
To me, having the courage to tell your own story goes hand in hand with having the curiosity and humility to listen to others' stories.
I want her to know that this world is made out of sugar. It can crumble so easily but don?t be afraid to stick your tongue out and taste it.
She makes tea by hand. Nettles, slippery elm, turmeric, cinnamon - my mother is a recipe for warm throats and belly laughs. Once she fell off a ladder when I was three. She says all she was worried about was my face as I watched her fall.
We were dandelion seeds released to the wind, she asked for no return. We are saplings now. With gentle hands.
I will love you with too many commas, but never any asterisks.
Some nights, I wake up knowing he is anxious. He is across the world in another woman's arms and the years have spread us like dandelion seeds, sanding down the edges of our jigsaw parts that used to only fit each other
When I hear other people's stories, I like to believe that they contribute to my 'Encyclopedia of Human Experience.' The stories I hear help me expand my definition of what love is, what pain feels like, what sacrifice means, what laughter can do.
I?m gonna paint the solar system on the backs of her hands so she has to learn the entire universe before she can say ?oh I know that like the back of my hand.
Some people read palms to tell your future, but I read hands to tell your past. Each scar makes a story worth telling. Each callused palm, each cracked knuckle is a missed punch or years in a factory.
When I hear what I have written out loud, the clich‚s hang in the air between us like bad breath.
If I should have a daughter, instead of 'Mom,' she's gonna call me 'Point B,' because that way she knows that no matter what happens, at least she can always find her way to me. And I'm going to paint solar systems on the backs of her hands so she has to learn the entire universe before she can say, 'Oh, I know that like the back of my hand.'
Sometimes the only way I know how to work through something is by writing a poem. And sometimes I get to the end of the poem and look back and go, 'Oh, that's what this is all about,' and sometimes I get to the end of the poem and haven't solved anything, but at least I have a new poem out of it.
When they bombed Hiroshima, the explosion formed a mini-supernova, so every living animal, human or plant that received direct contact with the rays from that sun was instantly turned to ash. And what was left of the city soon followed. The long-lasting damage of nuclear radiation caused an entire city and its population to turn into powder. When I was born, my mom says I looked around the whole hospital room with a stare that said, This? I've done this before. She says I have old eyes. When my Grandpa Genji died, I was only five years old, but I took my mom by the hand and told her, Don't worry, he'll come back as a baby. And yet, for someone who's apparently done this already, I still haven't figured anything out yet. My knees still buckle every time I get on a stage. My self-confidence can be measured out in teaspoons mixed into my poetry, and it still always tastes funny in my mouth. But in Hiroshima, some people were wiped clean away, leaving only a wristwatch or a diary page. So no matter that I have inhibitions to fill all my pockets, I keep trying, hoping that one day I'll write a poem I can be proud to let sit in a museum exhibit as the only proof I existed. My parents named me Sarah, which is a biblical name. In the original story God told Sarah she could do something impossible and she laughed, because the first Sarah, she didn't know what to do with impossible. And me? Well, neither do I, but I see the impossible every day. Impossible is trying to connect in this world, trying to hold onto others while things are blowing up around you, knowing that while you're speaking, they aren't just waiting for their turn to talk -- they hear you. They feel exactly what you feel at the same time that you feel it. It's what I strive for every time I open my mouth -- that impossible connection. There's this piece of wall in Hiroshima that was completely burnt black by the radiation. But on the front step, a person who was sitting there blocked the rays from hitting the stone. The only thing left now is a permanent shadow of positive light. After the A bomb, specialists said it would take 75 years for the radiation damaged soil of Hiroshima City to ever grow anything again. But that spring, there were new buds popping up from the earth. When I meet you, in that moment, I'm no longer a part of your future. I start quickly becoming part of your past. But in that instant, I get to share your present. And you, you get to share mine. And that is the greatest present of all. So if you tell me I can do the impossible, I'll probably laugh at you. I don't know if I can change the world yet, because I don't know that much about it -- and I don't know that much about reincarnation either, but if you make me laugh hard enough, sometimes I forget what century I'm in. This isn't my first time here. This isn't my last time here. These aren't the last words I'll share. But just in case, I'm trying my hardest to get it right this time around.
If I should have a daughter??Instead of ?Mom?, she?s gonna call me ?Point B.? Because that way, she knows that no matter what happens, at least she can always find her way to me. And I?m going to paint the solar system on the back of her hands so that she has to learn the entire universe before she can say ?Oh, I know that like the back of my hand.? She?s gonna learn that this life will hit you, hard, in the face, wait for you to get back up so it can kick you in the stomach. But getting the wind knocked out of you is the only way to remind your lungs how much they like the taste of air. There is hurt, here, that cannot be fixed by band-aids or poetry, so the first time she realizes that Wonder-woman isn?t coming, I?ll make sure she knows she doesn?t have to wear the cape all by herself. Because no matter how wide you stretch your fingers, your hands will always be too small to catch all the pain you want to heal. Believe me, I?ve tried. And ?Baby,? I?ll tell her ?don?t keep your nose up in the air like that, I know that trick, you?re just smelling for smoke so you can follow the trail back to a burning house so you can find the boy who lost everything in the fire to see if you can save him. Or else, find the boy who lit the fire in the first place to see if you can change him.? But I know that she will anyway, so instead I?ll always keep an extra supply of chocolate and rain boats nearby, ?cause there is no heartbreak that chocolate can?t fix. Okay, there?s a few heartbreaks chocolate can?t fix. But that?s what the rain boots are for, because rain will wash away everything if you let it. I want her to see the world through the underside of a glass bottom boat, to look through a magnifying glass at the galaxies that exist on the pin point of a human mind. Because that?s how my mom taught me. That there?ll be days like this, ?There?ll be days like this my momma said? when you open your hands to catch and wind up with only blisters and bruises. When you step out of the phone booth and try to fly and the very people you wanna save are the ones standing on your cape. When your boots will fill with rain and you?ll be up to your knees in disappointment and those are the very days you have all the more reason to say ?thank you,? ?cause there is nothing more beautiful than the way the ocean refuses to stop kissing the shoreline no matter how many times it?s sent away. You will put the ?wind? in win some lose some, you will put the ?star? in starting over and over, and no matter how many land mines erupt in a minute be sure your mind lands on the beauty of this funny place called life. And yes, on a scale from one to over-trusting I am pretty damn naive but I want her to know that this world is made out of sugar. It can crumble so easily but don?t be afraid to stick your tongue out and taste it. ?Baby,? I?ll tell her ?remember your mama is a worrier but your papa is a warrior and you are the girl with small hands and big eyes who never stops asking for more.? Remember that good things come in threes and so do bad things and always apologize when you?ve done something wrong but don?t you ever apologize for the way your eyes refuse to stop shining. Your voice is small but don?t ever stop singing and when they finally hand you heartbreak, slip hatred and war under your doorstep and hand you hand-outs on street corners of cynicism and defeat, you tell them that they really ought to meet your mother.